Ex-Daanbantayan mayor penalized for Yolanda fund mess

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2017 05:53 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has found former Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Augusto Corro guilty of simple negligence for the non-release of financial aid to his constituents whose houses were destroyed by supertyphoon Yolanda. 

Corro is supposed to be suspended for two months as a penalty, but since he is no longer in government service, the penalty is converted to a fine amounting to his two months’ salary.

Also ordered suspended was Heide Aplece, Social Welfare Officer III of the Municipal Social Welfare Development Office.

The Ombudsman said Corro “flip-flopped on the qualified beneficiaries of the Emergency Shelter Assistance, a financial assistance fund from the Department of Social Welfare and Developmment released to victims of supertyphoon Yolanda.”

Corro got a complaint from Barangay Tapilon resident Renato Benatiro who was disqualified from the shelter assistance as his house is declared to be situated in an unsafe zone. 

Under the ESA program, the municipality received a total of P425,870,000.00 - P30,000 for each resident whose house was completely destroyed and P10,000 each for partially destroyed houses. 

In his counter-affidavit, Corro said that he has only suspended the release of ESA in areas near shorelines pending the techincal determination of unsafe zones. 

“If it is true that the municipality merely withheld the ESA of those residing near the shorelines pending proper identification of its danger/unsafe zones, the remarks appearing next to complainant’s name on the list, as well as that of the others, should have been 'for verification' and not a categorical and unqualified 'unsafe zone,'" the Office of the Ombudsman said. 

The Ombudsman however said there is no probable cause to charge Corro with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as his acts do not establish the presence of manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.